Letters: Members of the Faculty of Hamline University

Dear Hamline Students,

We want you to know that in the midst of the current media tempest, our thoughts are with you. 

We support students.  

We also support academic freedom. 

Our mission as educators demands both. 

We see and hear what many students who are Muslim have shared at the fall forum and in other spaces.  Islamophobia in our country and our state impacts many of you and all of our communities every day. Incidents on this campus have exacerbated that pain and anxiety.  We understand that in these contexts we have a duty as educators to stand against marginalization and disrespect, to design and teach our curricula to ensure inclusivity.

The public debate is often being cast as if we must work for academic freedom or for religious and cultural sensitivity, and that characterization is wrong and destructive. These aren’t opposites. Classroom situations are sometimes complicated, and it can be difficult to work through our responsibility to be both supportive and challenging, to align what we teach, how we teach and who we each and all are. But we intend to keep working through these complications with care and collective effort, owning up to mistakes — and working through our disagreements  — with our eyes always on our shared purpose and academic mission of learning, and always seeking to do better, together.

Media accounts rarely capture such complexities, and the institutional response in the face of confused public reports may amplify the confusion. We want you to know that we are fully committed to listening to and working with you to keep refining and improving the educational experience for all students, even while our classrooms may sometimes be challenging — even uncomfortable — spaces. 

This letter is insufficient to address all concerns — we commit to further, ongoing work together.

Thank you for speaking up.  Thank you for listening.  Thank you for all you do to engage with and shape learning at Hamline.  We are excited to see all of you in our classes.


Alina Oxendine, Allison Baker, Andy Rundquist, Angela Pelster-Wiebe, Beth Gunderson, Betsy Martínez-Vaz, Binnur Ozkececi-Taner, Bonnie Ploger, Brian Hoffman, Bridget Jacques-Fricke, Calee Cecconi, Catheryn Jennings, David Davies, David Schultz, Davu Seru, Erik Asp, Irina Makarevitch, Janet Greene, Jasper Weinburd, Jeff Turner, Jen England, Jennifer Carlson, Jerry Artz, Jodi Goldberg, Joe Lewis, Joe Swenson, Kaori Kenmotsu, Kate Bjork, Kathryn Geurts, Kathy Burleson, Katrina Vandenberg, Ken Fox, Kris Deffenbacher, Kris Norman, Laura Dougherty, Leif Hembre, Leondra Hanson, Linnette Werner, Lisa Nordeen, Lisa Stegall, Máel Embser-Herbert, Marcela Kostihová, Marceleen Mosher, María Jésus Leal, Mark Berkson, Mike Reynolds, Nick Schlotter, Paul Bogard, Peggy Andrews, Rachel Tofteland-Trampe, Rebecca Neal, Richard Pelster-Wiebe, Ryan Larson, Sam Imbo, Sarah Hick, Shannon Cannella, Sharon Preves, Sheila O’Connor, Sofía Pacheco-Forés, Sonal Gerten, Stephen Kellert, Suda Ishida, Susi Keefe, Susie Steinbach, Trevor Maine, Zhenqing Zhang